On top of my obsession for fashion and make-up there’s one more hobby I absolutely adore, and that’s photography. Whilst I’ve been blogging I’ve been shooting most of my photos in RAW, and I thought I’d do a post about what taking photos in RAW means and how I prefer it to shooting photos in standard modes.
This post is mainly for DSLR cameras and if anyone wants to know what camera I use then it’s a Canon 1200D!
So, what does RAW mean?
RAW doesn’t actually stand for anything, it’s a setting you can take photos in. In your camera you have different settings for image quality – options could be small, medium, large or RAW.
Small, medium and large settings determine how big your photo will be (in terms of the size of the file) and they will all be JPEG. Then you have RAW photos, which are the biggest size and have the best quality. They’re also saved as a RAW file instead of a JPEG.
What’s the difference between JPEG and RAW?
The easiest way to think about it is that a JPEG file is a finished product and a RAW photo is the photo before editing. JPEG files aren’t (in the photography world) meant to be edited much and this is because the quality isn’t as good. When you have a RAW file, you can edit it better because it’s a much clearer photo and it takes in so much more information, and then you save it after editing as a JPEG (and then you have your ‘finished product’).
RAW photos hold SO much more detail and light to JPEG photos. Here’s two photos taken exactly the same but in the two modes. Left is RAW and right is JPEG. (I’ve not edited them)
I’ll also show you a comparison below of zoomed in photos so you can see the detail difference (I’ve zoomed them in the same amount).
See the quality difference? If you’re on your phone it may not be clear but click the photos and zoom in further, you’ll notice the JPEG image is much more pixelated.
How do I shoot in RAW?
If you go to your camera menu or settings, somewhere you’ll find ‘image quality’ – here you’ll have your options for shooting in small, medium, large or RAW modes.
Will it make a difference to how I take photos?
Not at all! You take your photos exactly how you did before – on your camera it’ll look pretty much the same as a JPEG photo until you get into your editing software and realise how much more detailed RAW photos are.
How do I edit them?
This is where it gets complicated. You have to edit your photos a bit differently using some different programs, and unless you have Lightroom or Photoshop you won’t be able to easily edit RAW photos – free programs don’t support them.
I edit my photos in Photoshop CS6 – this isn’t the newest version but my dad had it on an old CD which I stole last year. Attached to Photoshop packages you get something called ‘Adobe Bridge’. To find it you can click on File in Photoshop and it’ll say ‘Browse In Bridge’.
Adobe Bridge looks a bit like this:
Bridge is a program where you can navigate around your folders and find photos easily, and you right click them to edit them. When you right click a RAW file in Bridge it’ll give you an option to ‘Edit in Camera RAW’. Camera RAW is an extra program where you do all the editing. It looks like this:
The options obviously take a while to get used to – it’s pretty similar to Photoshop editing but it’s eventually easier to use and there are LOADS more options. Honestly, the possibilites of editing photos in Camera RAW are endless and you can do so much more to them without them looking obviously edited or compressed.
SAVING RAW IMAGES
When you’ve finished editing your photo in Camera RAW you need to open it in Photoshop. See in that previous photo it says ‘Open Image’? You click that and it opens it in Photoshop – once it’s open it’s now a completed JPEG file.
The only issue is, it’s still a HUGE file. The size of it can be 5 times the size it needs to be (especially for me, my photos only need to be 1000 pixels wide to fit on my blog). Luckily in Photoshop you can change the size of images when you save them.
Go to File, and click Save to Web. It’ll come up with the sizes in the bottom right corner and you can save it as a smaller file. This way it’ll take less time to load on your blog and it won’t take up tons of memory on your computer/laptop.
I hope this post has given you some idea as what a RAW file is (sorry if I made it sound MEGA complicated). If you’re really interested in photography then I’d definitely recommend finding out more about it – plus overall it actually makes editing photos a much quicker process!
Leave me a comment if you have any questions – I’ll reply to them all!